BMA licences three new offshore banks

02 December 2002

Three new offshore banks have been granted licences by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA - central bank), taking the number of banks and financial institution granted licences by the agency to 179. Two are branches of foreign banks, Turkey's Turk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB)and Pakistan's Askari Commercial Bank, and the other is the locally-incorporated Al Gosaibi Bahrain Bank. The Turkish institution is the country's 12th in Bahrain, and has total assets of $1,130 million, while Askari is the fifth Pakistani bank in the country, with total assets of $850 million. The third is being established by Saudi Arabia's Ahmed Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brotherswith paid up capital of $100 million. Bahrain has already established itself as a regional centre for offshore banking and Islamic finance in the region, and in October announced plans for a $1,000 million new financial district in Manama to attract more international financial institutions and banks to Bahrain (MEED 11:10:02).

Provisional Bahraini approval has also been given for a local branch of the State Bank of India (SBI), according to the local news sources. SBI already has an offshore unit in the country.

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